Vail boasts some of the most soothing and luxurious spas of any mountain resort. Whether you are coming in from a long day on the mountain, you're looking for something to do while your family hits the slopes, or you just want to spend a day relaxing in peace, a Vail spa is the place to be.

A Spa Day Alternative: Why Not Try a Natural Hot Spring?

While you can’t go wrong booking a treatment at the posh spas in the villages, what if you're looking for something different? Instead of an expensive spa day in town, you can relax in one of the natural hot springs just about an hour's drive from Vail.

The natural hot springs that sit in the hillsides near Vail have been in existence since, well, since they were naturally formed! Luckily for us, various spas have sprung up, too, allowing visitors to reap the benefits of the therapeutic, natural mineral water.

These spas offer visitors access to hot mineral-water pools, cool freshwater pools and steam bath caves. They're open year-round (closed only on limited holidays and for maintenance – look at the spa’s website or give them a call to double check before heading over). They open early in the morning and don't close until well into the evening. Here are three of my favorites!

Yampah Spa Vapor Caves: The Most Authentic Hot Springs Experience

My favorite natural hot springs in the area is The Yampah Spa, and it's also the most authentic one around. For just $15 a person, adults can enjoy a day at the 126-year-old Yampah Spa Vapor Caves that are located just an hour west of Vail.

The vapor caves are three natural, underground rock chambers that visitors reach by passing through a stone corridor. These steam baths with hot mineral water are the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate. The untreated water from the springs contains 34 minerals and trace elements and has been used for centuries to melt away stress and heal the body and mind.

In addition to the three steam baths, visitors can spend time in a cooling room or enjoy dips in small cold water tubs to cool off in between their time in the steam baths. You'll appreciate cooling off, as the floors are naturally heated to 125 degrees Fahrenheit, and the water reaches a temperature of about 110 degrees Fahrenheit!

Additional spa services are available, and I highly recommend the 50-minute full body massage ($99) after you’ve spent some time in the hot baths. Nothing loosens the muscles up quite like it!

While there is no official age restriction to enter the caves, the spa recommends leaving the kids behind for this trip. While teenagers would be sure to love it, children under 12 (and even some bigger kids) often don’t appreciate the sauna-like temperatures that adults do.

Iron Mountain Hot Springs: Best Hot Springs to Visit With Kids

If you want to bring the whole family along, children and all, your best bet is the Iron Mountain Hot Springs. Located right near the Yampah Spa and sourcing the same hot springs water, these are mineral pools that everyone in the family can enjoy.

Unlike the Yampah Spa, the hot springs water here is not used in natural steam caves. Instead, the water fills 16 mineral pools that range in temperature from 98 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit. Kids ages 5-12 are allowed in all pools (with adult supervision), although children under 5 are not allowed in the hot pools.

If you want to bring younger children (under 5) or if you simply want to take a break from all of that heat, there’s a 100,000 gallon fresh water pool heated to (just!) 94 degrees Fahrenheit that the whole family can enjoy.

Pricing varies based on high/low season and day of the week, but day passes to the pools range from $20-25 for adults and $14-17 for children.

Indian Hot Springs: Best Adults-Only Hot Springs To Visit

If you head in the opposite direction from Vail, an hour's drive east will take you right to the Indian Hot Springs in the town of Idaho Springs. These springs have both caves and pools for you to enjoy. However, please note that the caves are strictly adults-only (no children under 16 allowed), are gender specific and that clothing is optional.

While the caves themselves are adults-only, there is a dome-covered pool that everyone can enjoy. The 90-100 degree Fahrenheit pool is open year-round and is filled with continuously flowing, piping-hot mineral water.

A pass for both the caves and for pool access is $33 or $34, depending on the day. Just the pool is $18-20 per day, and kids 5 and under are free.

Guaranteed Relaxation

No matter which hot springs or spa you choose to spend your day at, you’ll be sure to end the day feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. You’ll wake up the next morning ready to get back on the slopes or to enjoy one of the countless other activities Vail has to offer!